Hosts Neroca FC on Wednesday held former champions Aizawl FC to a goalless draw in the second northeastern derby of the ongoing I-League, at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium, on Wednesday.
In the beginning, Neroca were the more cautious side defending the ball while Aizawl took advantage and pressed hard for an goal early.
Maintaining the momentum, Aizawl earned six corners in the first 30 minutes of the game but could not capitalize on their chances.
On the other hand, hosts Aizawl were slightly ahead in terms of exchanges, but a goal eluded them throughout the 90 minutes.Defender Kareem Nurain of Aizawl had two close shaves through two free kicks.
In the 23rd minute, Aizawl`s third corner saw Neroca defender Sebastian making a hash of his attempted clearance and the ball fell to Alfred Jaryan whose powerful volley from just outside the keeper`s area was well saved by Boerchio under the woodworks.Neroca then sprung to life at the beginning of the second half and Malem missed a couple of opportunities within the first four minutes.
A couple of more chances were squandered by Felix and Aryn Williams for the visitors before Jerry in the 54th minute, found himself free inside the box, but his shot was gathered by Gurpreet.Aizawl staged a comeback into the game after Zikahi Dodoz replaced Lalrinfela.
However, the home team`s striker Ansumanah Kromah was guilty of being caught off-side, at four times. Gift Raikhan then brought on David Lalrinmuana with 10 minutes left in an attempt to break the deadlock. David, who had scored from a brilliant free-kick in the Mohun Bagan game to salvage a point for his team, did get a couple of opportunities.
The second half saw a more end-to-end football and was clearly more entertaining but both Gurpreet under the Aizawl woodworks and the Neroca custodian Maouro Boerchio managed to return their first clean sheets of the I-League campaign.
The best among them was in the dying minutes of injury time when his free-kick from the left flank found Valpuia with a free header inside the box but he headed straight to the keeper.
Aizawl FC will now play host to defending champions Minerva Punjab FC on November 10 while Neroca will travel to Srinagar to lock horns with Real Kashmir FC on the next day.
Source: Zee News